forests

Forests for the Earth and How to Create a Fund

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Join me in helping the world’s forests stop climate change and more

Ever since I joined Bright Funds, I wanted to create a Fund to support the world’s forests. Here’s why: I believe that forests are the key to mitigating the biggest challenges we face today – climate change, drought, extreme weather, pollution, poverty, hunger, the spread of disease and more. And, although I completed the research on “Why Forests Are Key to Solving Global Challenges Like Climate Change” several years ago, I am confident these insights still hold true today – our planet is better off with intact forests.

Forests for the Earth Fund

Forests are essential for tackling major global challenges like climate change and biodiversity collapse. They feed us, keep us healthy, clean the air and water, reduce heat islands and absorb carbon. Donate to this group of highly rated nonprofits to support the world’s forests through conservation, market and legal protections, reforestation and support for indigenous people.

Forests for the Earth Fund photo1

What is a Bright Funds Fund?

A Bright Funds Fund is a bucket or collection of nonprofits for charitable giving. It can contain one or several nonprofits, and any donations to a Fund are split evenly among the nonprofits. Anyone can create a Fund, and it’s a great way to start a fundraiser for something you are passionate about. If you want to skip the research and just pick a cause, the Bright Funds nonprofit team has also created a set of pre-vetted Funds as follows:

  • Flagship Funds – aligned to major cause areas such as the environment or human rights
  • UN SDG Funds – aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
  • Featured Funds – aligned to awareness days and events throughout the year such as Juneteenth or Veteran’s Day

Each of these Funds contains carefully selected nonprofits doing exceptional work in the defined cause area. They are built through in-depth analysis and research to evaluate which nonprofits are the most effective and will have the greatest success in tackling the issue. Nonprofits are selected based on insights gathered from five independent organizations – GiveWell, Charity Navigator, Guidestar, Universal Giving and Charity Watch.

How to create a Fund on Bright Funds

Creating a Fund on Bright Funds is super easy, but here are some things to keep in mind to ensure your fundraiser will support the right nonprofits.

1. Define your impact goal(s):

This may seem like a no-brainer but it’s an important first step. I knew my giving goal was to help the world’s forests, but that wasn’t specific enough. As I started to research the nonprofits (step 2), I realized I needed to further define my goals into sub-categories. Thinking about questions like this helped me refine my goals:

  • What is the main goal? (e.g., help the world’s forests)
  • How can that goal be achieved? (e.g., through land conservation, legal protections, reforestation, etc.)
  • In what locations? (e.g., locally, nationally, globally)
  • Are there adjacent areas you want to consider? (e.g., helping indigenous people, supporting carbon offset markets)

This is where I landed:

  • Conservation of U.S. forests (land trusts and conservation)
  • Conservation of forests across the globe including critical rainforests
  • Legal protection for forests (U.S. and global)
  • Reforestation and support for indigenous people
  • Conservation of forests through carbon offsets (help advance carbon markets)

2. Research the nonprofits you want to include in your Fund:

When you have refined your goals, it’s time to vet the nonprofits for your Fund. While I didn’t research quite as thoroughly as the Bright Funds nonprofit team does, I did check three sources (Charity Navigator, Guidestar and Charity Watch). I also included the One Trillion Tree Pledgei in my analysis of forest nonprofits as I view it to be a critical accelerator to the work of conserving, restoring and growing forests. In some cases, a nonprofit I had in mind fell out because of lower ratings, while other nonprofits were added because they ranked highly. After I finished collecting the different metrics, I sorted by the Charity Navigator score and grouped the nonprofits into different sub-categories. When I realized I was missing a nonprofit for carbon offsets, I searched for one and decided to add CarbonFund.org to the list as it had decent ratings. Feel free to re-purpose my analysis for your own vetting exercise. There may be other sources you’d like to include such as reviews on Glassdoor or BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance (give.org). Be sure to copy and paste the mission of each nonprofit into your analysis sheet as you’ll need it later when you create your Fund.

3. Develop a good story to introduce your Fund:

You’ll also need to provide a description of what your Fund is about. While I’ve been thinking about forests for years, I decided to include a story that recently inspired me from David Attenborough’s Our Planet show on forests.ii The fact that a mere 30 years of leaving nature alone could reverse 100 years of damage (not to mention a nuclear meltdown!) is a testament of how resilient nature can be if given a chance. I also included an overview of my Fund goals as part of the story.

4. Create your Fund:

Now it’s time to put all that research to good use and create your fundraiser. Here are a few tips as you go through the Fund creation process:

  • Be careful about what you name your Fund – if you name it something like “test” or “TBD,” that will remain in the URL of the Fund even if you update the name later.
  • Save frequently to avoid losing any work – I saved my Fund after adding each element (About, Fund goal, Fund picture and each nonprofit).
  • Add a description for each nonprofit that highlights why it meets your Fund goal(s).
  • If you have trouble uploading a picture for your Fund, try re-saving it as a smaller PNG file.

5. Share your Fund:

After you create your Fund, be sure to make it public so you can share it with your family, friends and colleagues.

That’s it – your Fund is ready to accept donations now.

Please join me in helping the world’s forests so we leave a livable planet for our children and grandchildren. Thank you!

The trees act not as individuals, but somehow as a collective. Exactly how they do this, we don’t know yet. But what we see is the power of unity. What happens to one happens to us all.

Robin Wall Kimmerer, Professor at SUNY Environmental and Forest Biology
Julie Yamamoto

Julie Yamamoto

Julie is a Content Strategist at Bright Funds. She works closely with clients to deliver compelling content that inspires action. Her work has been featured in several enterprise and nonprofit digital channels, as well as GreenBiz and American Forests. She is a trained Climate Reality leader with a passion for environmental topics (technology for good, sustainable business, forests and carbon markets, climate change, conservation and biodiversity). In the future, she hopes to start a nonprofit focused on harnessing creativity to protect nature.